5 Dog Dental Health Tips
February is Dog Dental Health Month and pet parents understand that just as their dental health is tied to their overall health, so too is their dog’s dental health. If you’ve never brushed your dog’s teeth and don’t know where to begin we have 5 dog dental health tips and advice on dog dental health.
It may be easier to get a puppy accustomed to having his or her teeth brushed, but with patience and perseverance you can certainly brush an older dog’s teeth.
5 Dog Dental Health Tips
Your dog won’t develop cavities like you would, but a build up of tartar at the gumline can lead to heart disease and loss of teeth. If your dog begins to lose his teeth, he will have a difficult time eating and this can lead to other health issues.
A healthy mouth is one of the best gifts you can give your dog.
- Start young with dental cleaning. If you have a puppy, talk with your veterinarian about how to start her out with a healthy mouth from the day you bring her home. There are fingertip brushes you can use to gently rub your pup’s mouth and teeth. There are also toothpaste and cleaning agents in flavors dogs love — like beef or chicken — that you can use on the fingertip brush. You will eventually move up to a “regular” toothbrush for his teeth, but the fingertip brush helps get your pup accustomed to the feeling of the brushing motion. NOTE: Do NOT use human toothpaste on your dog.
- If you have an older dog, you can still teach her to enjoy having her teeth brushed. Again, start with a fingertip brush with a flavored toothpaste. “Brush” her teeth when you’re sitting next to one another, relaxing and make it an enjoyable experience. Start out slowly and work up to a full dental brushing once she is accustomed to it.
- Schedule annual dental check-ups. When you take your dog in for his or her annual veterinarian check-up, your vet will check the health of his teeth and may recommend a dental cleaning. A full dental cleaning will involve your dog being put under anesthesia, the vet will clean off all tartar, pull any teeth that are causing your dog problem and send him home with a clean bill of dental health.
- Soft food is ideal for helping your dog get more water in his diet, but soft food doesn’t provide any “scraping” activity that hard food would. Feed your dog a mix of soft and hard foods to help assure tartar doesn’t become a problem.
- Chew toys and dental chews. There are a lot of chew toys on the market that are designed for dog dental health. Many toy manufacturers understand the need for a healthy mouth for your pup and because of that, their toys are designed for chewing activity that will help loosen and remove tartar. Dog dental chews provide chewing action and may loosen and remove tartar, but beware of feeding too many chews as they are usually high calorie and that can lead to your dog having cleaner teeth but an unhealthy weight.
Talk with your vet and ask for some insight and advice on how to brush your dog’s teeth. Check her teeth today and make note of any tartar build up; if you see it, call your vet and get your dog in for a dental check-up.
Do you brush your dog’s teeth? Do you have any advice on how to do it? We’d love to know!
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